JAMESTOWN – The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities (BPU) has been awarded $750,000 from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) for its “Manufacturing Clean Energy in the Southern Tier” proposal. It was the maximum amount of funding allowed under the program.
According to a media release from the BPU, the program is designed to facilitate innovation focusing on climate technology company formation, enhance regional workforce development, create jobs in the growing clean energy sector, and strengthen connections among manufacturers across the Western Southern Tier counties of Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany.
The funding was awarded under NYSERDA’s “Accelerate the Southern Tier” program opportunity, which seeks to boost the formation and growth of early-stage innovation in the Southern Tier to help New York State advance its climate and clean energy goals and continues development of the region to help foster growth of climate technology businesses.
“We are very pleased that New York State leadership recognizes that significant investment in climate technology manufacturing will benefit existing Jamestown-area companies as well as to help attract new companies to the region,” says BPU General Manager David Leathers. “This BPU-led program supports our western New York legacy as a manufacturing powerhouse in the State and speaks to our potential as a climate technology manufacturing resource for decades to come.”
The Manufacturing Clean Energy in the Southern Tier project will encompass four initiatives:
- Climate Technology Studies designed to evaluate the regional and individual manufacturer’s potential to enter the climate technology manufacturing market in the Western Southern Tier.
- Climate Technology Workforce Development which will augment training and educational programming at Jamestown Community College.
- Climate Technology Manufacturing Conference and Tradeshow held in Jamestown and designed to attract manufacturing interests from across the country.
- Climate Technology Marketing Campaign promoting the Western Southern Tier’s status as a climate technology manufacturing hub for the expanding domestic supply chain.
“Climate technology businesses provide a bright future for innovative manufacturers and, in the Western Southern Tier, we’re poised to capitalize on that future,” adds Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist. “The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities stands as one of the most important economic development assets in our region. With our partners, this award will help us identify our shared potential to augment climate technology manufacturing, promote the region as a climate technology ‘hub’ and contribute locally to a 21st Century workforce.”
“Jamestown and Chautauqua County businesses can only benefit from a program designed to augment our successful local companies and attract new partners, new ideas and new investment,” states Todd Tranum, Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce president and chief executive officer. “Doing so now, at a time of critical need for our region, exemplifies our relentless determination to build a better future.”
“The Gebbie Foundation looks forward to being a part of bringing a Climate Technology Conference and Tradeshow to the Jamestown area as soon as it is safe and prudent to do so,” says Greg Edwards, Chief Executive Officer at the Gebbie Foundation. “In keeping with the Foundation’s strategic focus of revitalizing downtown Jamestown, we invest in community and economic development projects such as this, that draw further investment from public and private partners. By becoming known as an ideal conference and convention location, we can attract people to our region to experience all the area has to offer.”
This effort complements New York State’s national-leading climate and clean energy goals as outlined in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act to lower greenhouse gas emissions 85 percent by 2050. The Accelerate Southern Tier Awards complements other State innovation and economic development initiatives such as the 76West Clean Energy Business Competition and Southern Tier Soaring.
76West recently awarded $2.5 million to four companies, to expand operations in the region, and previous competition finalists and semifinalists have successfully integrated themselves, raising $51 million in private capital, making multimillion-dollar investments in property and equipment in the region while spending more than $1.7 million on key suppliers.
Workforce training through Jamestown Community College (JCC) will increase the number of available skilled workers with knowledge of clean energy-specific technologies.
“Jamestown Community College is pleased to be part of the Manufacturing the Climate Technology Future in the Southern Tier consortium in partnership with the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities, which calls for a four-pronged initiative designed to facilitate climate technology company formation, growth, recruitment, and job creation across the Western Southern Tier counties,” says JCC President Daniel DeMarte.
“JCC’s specific role in this initiative,” continues DeMarte, “is to develop a Climate Technology program comprised of fundamental courses in residential and commercial electricity as well as more advanced offerings in Building Automation Systems focusing on the installation, repair, and maintenance of computer-based systems designed to control a building’s mechanical and electrical equipment including heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) and energy management systems. Courses will be available beginning fall 2021.”
Students in JCC’s program can also benefit from scholarship support from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation (CRCF).
“The CRCF is proud of its heritage administering over 300 scholarship funds to local students,” explains the Foundation’s Executive Director, Tory Irgang. “This partnership will offer our local students access to unique training and education for good paying jobs in this growing sector of our economy.”
The intended impact from the program will extend beyond Jamestown’s borders across Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and Allegany counties.
“With more Americans working in climate technology-related industries than ever before, job growth in this sector continues to exceed expectations,” notes Mark Geise, Deputy County Executive for Economic Development and CEO of the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency (CCIDA). “The CCIDA and our counterparts in the Western Southern Tier—a region with more than 330 manufacturers responsible for more than $7.5 billion dollars of commerce—see tremendous value in making smart investments in climate technology manufacturing.”
Boosting manufacturers across the three counties is a significant goal of the program. Through individual manufacturing studies evaluating value-added investments in climate technology to a conference and tradeshow event meant to connect local firms with national investors and potential partners, new ideas and new jobs are on the agenda.
“Emerging climate technologies and the long-term trend toward sustainable climate technology solutions presents myriad opportunities for manufacturers across the Western Southern Tier,” says Tim Piazza, talent pipeline and apprenticeship coordinator at the Manufacturing Association of the Southern Tier (MAST). “From individual studies analyzing a manufacturer’s potential to efficiently enter the climate technology supply chain, to conferences and shared marketing designed to draw attention to the region, the program’s benefits are substantial.”
“I’m so proud of the JBPU and City of Jamestown team members who led the successful application process, along with a long list of local and regional community partners,” says Leathers. “This grant award outcome is recognition of a tremendous example of preparedness, teamwork and collaboration.”
Supporters of the proposal include: the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce, the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency, the Chautauqua County Partnership for Economic Growth, Chautauqua County Visitors’ Bureau, Chautauqua County Education Coalition, Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, the City of Jamestown Department of Development, the Gebbie Foundation, Jamestown Community College, Jamestown Renaissance Corporation, the Manufacturer’s Association of the Southern Tier, and the Small Business Development Center.